Saturday, April 18, 2009

level four shambling krenshar

from time to time, feel like i need to have some connection to nerd culture that i don't have by nature. not because i feel i need credibility or anything of that sort, more just because it seems to fill some void created by my not doing especially nerdy all that often.

there are of course many ways to go about filling this void, but i generally prefer more concentrated or potent sources. distilled nerdiness, if you will. i'll share a few i've found as of recent.

one that i've discovered since i hopped on the blogging train is called the "WoW fail blog" (the "WoW" is short for world of warcraft, for the unenlightened). before i go further, it should be known that i don't play world of warcraft. at one point i owned warcraft II for windows 98, but i didn't even enjoy that all that much. but anyway, suffice it to say that i don't play world of warcraft and plan on never doing so.


what makes this blog useful to me is the fact that i get all the nerdiness of "WoW" condensed into jokes and stories that make me feel as if i know what's going on. therefore, even though i'll never actually be a level 68 undead mage, i can still have a laugh at an extremely nerdy joke about them on this site (even if i have to do some research to actually get it). and so, a bit of the void is filled.

it should be noted that this is animating a concept more than it is a specific thing that i love. sometimes simply talking about wizards and orcs and elves and whatever is, for whatever reason, very satisfying. i think this is why the lord of the rings films were so popular even outside of literature and warhammer types. sometimes we all like to have an excuse to talk about dwarves fighting goblins. it's simple as that.

another bit is filled with computer emulators and 8 bit music. once again, these are things that many people spend a great deal of time and effort creating and using, which is extremely nerdy. however, not being as cool or devoted as these people, i instead benefit from their labors and simply use their free programs and listen to their free music.

these activities i enjoy more than the last because i've actually toyed around with this stuff rather than simply reading about it occasionally and acting like i get it. it's really quite good. and thanks to the world of open-source software and cheap pc hardware, i too can act like i know what i'm doing and make lame digital music. that's what life's all about.

next on the list is talking about final fantasy. i've beaten two of them, vii and ix. although it did take a total of five years to do so, and that makes me less devoted than people who have beaten them twice in a few months. either way, talking about sephiroth with coworkers and peers undeniably adds weight to the nerd repertoire.
though to be fair, i'll need to beat the ones on nes before i can show my face in the presence of "devoted gamers." but this is enough for my brother to make fun of me, so it will do for now.

the last one i'll be discussing today, because we all know there are many things that could be discussed, is having a devotion to windows. i'm sure there will be at least a few mac users who read this (including my brother, who ironically knows windows much better than i do and still uses a mac), and will say that this is lame. well, fair enough. however, i still find it satisfying so i'll keep doing it.

my love for windows comes from learning it as i tried and tried to customize it. and although it was confusing at times, it was letting me do it. i enjoyed that. tinkering with settings (even if they are unimportant) makes me feel like i'm kind of like a h4xx0r, even though in reality there's no such connection at all.
i compare this to my experience with a mac. once again, i'm sure there are plenty of people who will disagree with me (and that's fine. you can even post about it if you like. go ahead. leave a scathing comment.), but i simply feel like macs assume i'm an idiot and that i'm too ignorant to be able to control anything important myself.
it should be noted that i've never actually owned a mac. however, i have used them, and i have used their software, and i've hated essentially all of it... with this being the case, the more i act like i could never so much as touch a mac, the more i feel like i have a nerd identity that defines me. and that goes a long way in filling the aforementioned void. also, it bothers me that you can only "click" and not right or left click. it's like having one pedal for both braking and accelerating.

and don't worry, my-computer-science-major friends, i'll be learning linux this summer.

and thus completes this post. chances are you disagree with the mac bit, think less of me for reading a world of warcraft blog, or are confused why i enjoy digital music as much as i do. or all of these. but either way, if you feel like a part of you is missing, maybe you'll find it in one of these locations. good luck.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

facebook fiasco. (an apology and explanation)

well, this was a little embarrassing...

i'm assuming most of you are completely familiar with facebook (as you probably found this blog via facebook), but in case you are not... click here.

anyway, when i first arrived home from my mission, upon much encouragement, i obtained a facebook account and it lived a happy two month life. after two months, however, some problems arose. it seems in my facebook infancy i was a bit naive (much as i had been when i used myspace) and just added whoever requested me as a friend and accepted any old application invite sent. this lead to problems as between the (at times, racy) crew i had assimilated and the applications i had carelessly added took a toll on my poor account and it was malfunctioning in bizarre ways and was getting bizarre messages and wall posts to boot. rather than attempt to purify, as it was already falling apart, i simply deleted it and started a new account. (be my friend on my real account here, if you so desire)

well, i did so and all was well. i re-assimilated all my old friends and none of the same worthless applications or weirdos from before. all was well.

here's where things got confusing for some of you (and for me as well, as will be explained). it turns out that facebook never actually deletes your account. instead, it will render it as inactive, but retain all your friends, photos, conversation history, so on and so forth. i remember that i had quite a few photos on my old account, and being uncertain if i had them on my computer, i decided to hop back on a year later and reclaim the photos, which it let me do without problem. in order to prevent confusion and people wondering why they have two trace lund's with on their friends list, i did what i could to make it so the profile was essentially invisible. i deleted any friends i recognized or had conversations with and put all my account settings to private so that i could only see everything. people i didn't even remember i didn't bother deleting since i had already been deleting things for twenty minutes. i got lazy. besides, not like anyone that i didn't know would even notice if i randomly appeared again for two days on their friends list.

well, all was well and good, or so i thought, until i was hit with a rather entertaining (if not disturbing) message from a friend. he had (i'm guessing) been tagged in one of the aforementioned photos and noticed that they belonged to me, with a different name. he attempted to add me as a friend and said this:

hey man. is this your new drag queen name account or what? = P.

i didn't exactly grasp what in the world he was talking about, but it did make it clear that my "bullet-proofing" my account didn't work.

i wrote him this response from my real account:

hey bro. sorry about the confusion. remember last year when i got a new facebook account? maybe not... anyway. that's my old account. i just realized i still had loads of photos up on it and i'm trying to get all of them off and on to the computer. hahahahahaha, and thanks for your assumption that i have a drag queen name. did you like it? hahahahaha.

so all i know now is that apparently people can see i have two accounts up, it is causing at least some confusion, and for some reason my friend mentioned drag queens. needless to say, he wasn't the only one that was confused.

to do what i could in the mean time, i removed the photo of me in hopes of making it clear that it was not my actual account.

the message was sent this morning. autumn offered some insight when she mentioned that she had found the account somehow (which confused me because i thought the thing was invisible to everybody else) and mentioned that the people i had on my friends list were all pretty weird.

now things started coming together. i didn't bother looking (i just deleted the account again... i'll check if i have the photos elsewhere), but apparently the people i didn't bother deleting were all a bit... colorful. colorful enough that when i mentioned the whole thing to autumn, she said, "i wasn't sure... they might have been drag queens, i guess."

for the record, i don't remember every adding any as friends. however, i added anyone who sent a friend request and i don't even know any of these people... so let's just let it go.

and now it is done. so, don't worry about it folks. if you see anything by "traxy land", no, it is not my drag queen name, it's simply the name i changed the account to so people would know it wasn't my real account.

sorry for the confusion, and please never bring this up again. thanks!

Monday, April 6, 2009

epiploic beauty.

to those it may bother: there's anatomical talk in here...
but it's all about beauty.

today was the last day of lab for my anatomy course. the lab anyway. this essentially means that one half of the course is done (the hands on cadaver lab half). i took the final earlier today, and i was up early to study for it, so this is a short post, then time for a nap.

anyway (and no specifics because talking about the test can get me a zero), while taking the exam this morning, i was looking in a cadaver and saw what's called epiploic appendages.
they're essentially little sacs of fat that chill out in storage on various parts of your digestive guts. i've looked for a photo, but i can't find a good one that does justice, so you may have to do some further investigation to find out what i mean (if you have one, please leave a link).

well, the coloring of these things is pretty vibrant. they're all bright yellow (as they are concentrated fat) and especially flashy when stuck to the dark red of a large intestine. reminds me of a clown's flower that squirts water at you. it's weirdly enough the most visually appealing part of your digestive tract... in my opinion. everything else looks essentially the same to me, varying only in shape, consistency, placement and size. in a crowd of innards, epiploic appendages really are the shooting stars of the abdominopelvic galaxy.

it's interesting to think that really, if zombies were to ever arise and challenge humanity, they may not be as horrible looking as we think. sure... a little rotting flesh, missing pieces perhaps, but if i see appendages like i saw today, i'll probably ask for a photo (to put on this post). on top of that, even if zombies never come around, the fact that we've got such beauty literally hanging out on our large intestines is exciting in itself.

so if you ever feel like you're not pretty enough, or your hair isn't how you'd like, or even if you're just having a hard day. remember, it's inner beauty that counts, and inside your gut you've got plenty of beautiful yellow epiploic appendages. we're all gorgeous.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


finals' week is drawing nigh, and such being the case, fun in general is gradually eeking away for the time being. this being the case, i've resorted to using the homework and study loads given as my new source of fun. i'm sure that we've all used some of these methods from time to time, but i decided to share some of my favorites in hopes that it might help someone else. if you've any that i don't have here, by all means, please leave a comment.

in no particular order, ways to make your homework more fun than it will ever actually be.

#1) calculator speak. of all the calculator fun, this is my personal favorite. now, no cheating, you with graphing calculators. there are rules. the essential idea is that you write words with the screen of your standard issue calculator by using numbers and then holding your calculator upside down. i think this one was at least dabbled with by anyone who went to a public elementary school. you can seen an example to the right.

it should be noted that many of the words sixth grade boys learned to type were not exactly appropriate... so you may want to stick to "hEll.o", "B0.0", "oh", and "hohohohoh.o" in case one of your teachers walks by while you're showing your friends.

i've also heard rumors of people drawing cool pictures with the same methods... eh, i doubt it. but if you've seen it done, please prove me wrong.

#2) taking your subject matter out of context. this one is an old classic. nothing makes a subject more interesting than relating it to drift racing, elephant hunting, or dungeons and dragons. this is more of a group activity. there are two methods that make this work best.

a) decide on a topic before your study group and insist on relating it to everything, stretching topics as much as you have to to make it work. ex.--i've decided on roller rinks as my topic before going to my trigonometry study group. an example comparison could be, "think of a 30-60-90 like when you go into the orem roller rink. you're at the door, you're friend is buying some glowsticks at the stand and your other friend is playing the area fifty-one arcade. if you draw lines between you, you'd have a 30-60-90 triangle. get it?"

b) find something that a diagram, graph, or photo in your textbook or slides looks like. a real life example of this took place in anatomy a few weeks back. we were looking at a male reproductive system diagram (don't worry--i'll be vague enough in case there are children reading), and found that the various cords, veins, and anatomical bodies formed the very likeness of a gazelle (or a giraffe, as autumn argued). following this realization, everything was funnier simply because everything was now part of a gazelle. saying something like, "the dartos muscle makes the lines of the jaw!" is infinitely more entertaining than "the dartos muscle is visible here."

#3) draw in your notes. this may seem rather basic, but it's quite fun actually, and can even help your studies. the basic rule is that if you don't turn it in, you should have fun with it. i'm not saying to draw while taking your notes (though at times, this can be the case), but more so draw in them while you review them. drawing a skull and crossbones next to "acid qualities" in your chemistry notes is always satisfying. in fact, drawing most anything next to anything in your notes is satisfying. then every time you review your notes, your serious studies can be lightly interrupted with the fairy holding a crossbow you drew in earlier.

the practical side of this is that you then get a vivid mental image of your notes' pages with the pictures, making finding specific notes much easier. two birds, one drawing of a stone. however, in order for this to be the case, you need to make sure your doodles are (at least loosely) related so your mind can connect the dots.

#4) make a point of having your most awkward or difficult subject matter visible to other people. this one is for when you're studying in the library or with a group of friends (everyone individually, though). we all have a class that has things that either are or at least look remarkably difficult or remarkably uncomfortable. your goal is to have other people see what you're studying and either comment on how difficult it looks or walk away after awkwardly double taking to make sure they saw what they thought they saw.
effective tools for this are anything to do with formulas (statistics, chemistry, upper level math), being sure to increase the font size if you need to to ensure all the cosines and square roots are noticeable. if you're going for the awkward route, anything to do with bodily functions or intimacy can be pretty useful. experiment, i'm sure you'll find the subjects that work best for you. maybe even try keeping a tally. if it's not working as well as you'd like, try making audible sighs of desperation and groans of displeasure.

#5) calculator races. another calculator pass time from elementary school days. this requires that you have two calculators (preferably of the same make and model) that are basic enough that if you type in 1, then +1, and then equals multiple times, it will continue to add one each time. participants all type in the initial 1+1 and then have a "ready set go". one-hundred always seemed a good number, but all that matters is that you agree to a number to race to. winner is the first to get to the number and put both hands in the air. alternatively, you can decide on a time and race to get the highest sum. both work.

#6) mad-lib your text book.this take the mad-libs principle and applies it to your subject matter. since the lines aren't already there for you to fill in, it'll take a little more work, but it's worth it. here's the how to:
make a listing of word's you'll be replacing. for instance, "first, third, fourth, and sixth nouns i read; second, third, and fourth verb; first, third, and last adjective; etc." then make a list of however many of each you decided on. i'll give an example from my chemistry book.
nouns:1st=shoe(s); 3rd=umbilical cord(s); 5th=breakfast(s);6th=messenger bag
verb:1st=laugh (at); 2nd=leap; 5th=devour
so, a paragraph on close the packing of spheres (randomly selected) becomes,

the shoes adopted by oversized solids are those that laugh at umbilical cords closest in contact to leap the modest forces between them. in many cases the particles that make up the breakfast are spherical or approximately so. such devours the case for messenger bags in furious solids.

and if you mess up in your counting, no loss. i certainly messed up, and it was still fun, see? learning complete rubbish is fun!

and that's what i can offer for now, but there undoubtedly many more. leave your own secrets to survival as a comment, and help another person make it through.keep up the studies.